Recently, the kids and I have had lots of fun trying to identify interesting features by looking at maps of our local area. It is amazing just how much of our history is recorded within maps, we have even discovered there is a site of a castle just a couple of miles away from our house, which we never knew was there. One site that the kids have been really keen to visit since they spotted it, is Cirencester Amphitheatre - the aerial photo below is a screenshot we took from OS Maps, and as you can see it looks a really impressive feature from above.
Cirencester Amphitheatre is a scheduled ancient monument which was located just outside the Roman walled city of Corinium, and is thought to have been built at the beginning of the second century. The second largest city in Roman Britain, Corinium had a population of over 10,000 people and is believed to have been a very fine Roman town indeed, with an array of large public stone buildings, two market places, and numerous shops and private houses. Thought to have been a centre for both stone carving and the mosaic industry, archaeological evidence also suggests that bakers, glass makers, blacksmiths and goldsmiths all worked within it's walls. Found on the outskirts of the Cotswold town of Cirencester, the massive earthworks of the amphitheatre include banks 25 foot high, and it has been estimated that the structure held 8,000 spectators when it was in use. The artistic impression below is from the information board at the site, and is of how historians think the amphitheatre might have looked when it was in use.
Here is a short video to try and give you a sense of the scale of the earthworks
We think the amphitheatre is well worth a visit, it is open in daylight hours, and entrance is free. If you are visiting Cirencester we would also recommend the Corinium Museum which has a stunning collection of Roman artifacts, and is a great hands on family museum with the most amazing tea shop next door.